Another fascinating novel by the incomparable Pearl S. Buck Buck – an amazing women well ahead of her time – writes about another remarkable women, Tzu Hsi, one of China’s greatest leaders.
Buck’s ability to bring her readers into a bygone era is astonishing, and one of the things I love the most about her writing talent. The Good Earth by Buck remains one of my favorite reads of all time, and won Buck a Noble Prize.
Much has been written about Tzu Hsi, a modest concubine who rose to power in the Qing Dynasty and became China’s last empress. But this novel takes Tzu Hsi life and dissects all of the amazing details of her beauty, cunning, and brilliant leadership during a time of extreme national turmoil and change.
If you loved the film The Last Emperor by Director Bernardo Bertolucci, Buck’s work in The Imperial Woman educates the reader of the period just prior to The Last Emperor, the politics and intrigue, tradition and power that had been Chinese life for thousands of years, until the fall of the Empire in 1912. Tzu Hsi died in 1908.
Fascinating and beautifully written. Powerful and complete, you will come away with respect and awe for one of the world’s least known female leaders.
*****Five stars for The Imperial Woman by Pearl S. Buck.
Read last week’s review of A Woman of No Importance
My current read All You Can Ever Know, by Nicole Chung
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